If Digg’s decline depends on users’ reaction to new UI, how can sites evolve in time?

Jolie O’Dell analyzes Digg’s Decline by the Numbers: Plummeting Traffic, Waning Power – and makes considerations on how Digg’s users did not like changes since they were used to a very stable UI, content aggregation and ranking.
So, the first changes in 4 years generated dissatisfaction to 78% of respondents and a big drop in traffic:



The most interesting comment in the article is that also Facebook makes changes, but they apply them in a completely different way:

  • multiple and more frequent changes
  • (only after some strong negative reactions) more transparency on changes and users’ data policies
  • deep attention to user feedback, and availability to roll back when it makes sense
  • faster dev response, thanks to the big effort that FB does in readying and supporting devs before they apply changes

OK so – is FB the right model? is it applicable in general?

Well, I believe FB keeps growing because the users numbers have reached far above any required critical mass: changes in UI generate debate and traffic but users cannot avoid using it, and get over their dissat after using it for few days. 
Other sites that do not have the same opportunity have to plan very accurately their changes, and probably apply lots of care in communicating them and listening to users’ feedback.

Also, devs are so important but they become relevant only when and if you have devs and apps that leverage your site as a platform.

As per Digg, I also liked this comment to the article:

Digg used to be a place where I found new and interesting stuff. now, (to me, at least) it just feels like a rehash of many of the feeds I already consume, mixed in with a bunch of corporate sponsored ads dressed as "news stories". I used to spend time in the pictures and video sections. Those are now gone.* There also used to be a goldmine of addictive flash games under ‘gaming’ called ‘playable web games’. Also gone.*    *if they’re not gone, i cant find them

Zo: we already have tons of information, tweets, etc., do not try to have another one more destination, even if you believe that you will be able to drive traffic to your site. If you have good content you may get users, but if you just repost (and ugh, add commercials too) it does not justify me coming to your site. You much better leverage the existing “platforms” (Tweeter, Facebook) and try to make me read you there.


About cmalaguzzi

I am a Mktg and Biz Dev Exec, with a passion for technology. Love to spend time on IT strategy, innovation, partner ecosystems, business productivity.
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